MENLO PARK, Calif.— The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation today announced that Rakesh Rajani, an expert in international development, will be joining the Foundation’s board of directors.

Rajani is the founder and head of Twaweza, an East African-based civil society initiative that works to promote change in Eastern Africa through citizen partnerships and governmental accountability. Twaweza is a Hewlett Foundation grantee; the name means “we can make it happen” in Swahili.

“Rakesh brings a wealth of hands-on experience in what it takes to make a difference in the developing world,” said Foundation President Paul Brest. “I have no doubt that he will bring singular insights to the Foundation’s international grantmaking.”

Rajani has co-founded and served as the first executive director of two other organizations in Tanzania—HakiElimu, the country’s leading education advocacy organization, and the Kuleana Center for Children’s Rights. He has also served as a consultant on international development for the Hewlett Foundation,, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation’s Office for East Africa, and UNICEF, among others.

At present, Rajani is a Fellow of the Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, and earlier served at the Center for Population and Development Studies and the Human Rights Program at Harvard University. He also serves as an advisor or board member of several national and international development organizations.

His interests include using information to promote citizen involvement in government, the political economy of policymaking, budget transparency and public engagement, and education governance. He has written dozens of academic papers, popular publications, and op-ed pieces.

Rajani, a Tanzanian, lives in Dar es Salaam. He is fluent in Swahili, English, and Gujarati. He earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy and English and American literature from Brandeis University in 1989 and a master’s degree in theological studies from Harvard University in 1991.

About The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has been making grants since 1967 to help solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. The Foundation concentrates its resources on activities in education, the environment, global development and population, performing arts, and philanthropy, and makes grants to support disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. A full list of all the Hewlett Foundation’s grants can be found here.